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The trio of bulbous storm clouds loom heavy
and nasty in the dim light, their oil-black
menace cascading down in a lattice of steel
"I think this piece is quite striking and effective,"
said Jennifer Edmunds, having spent several
moments agonising when asked to pick a standout
artwork in the Knightsbridge Penthouse collection.
Cloud Control, by Murrumbateman-based artist
Dan Stewart-Moore, "goes back to what Knightsbridge
really put an effort [into] in the first place," Edmunds
said, "which was three-dimensional art forms and
installation works that actually interact with the bar."
"It's really positive to be able to bring that back in
and have something beyond the canvas-on-the-wall
Edmunds heads up Wobble, an arts-and-design
collective that approached Knightsbridge management
in late 2010 with the idea of transforming the bar into
a gallery space.
The suave Braddon bar already had a strong design
policy in place, so its management was extremely
receptive to the idea.
"So we put together a collection," Edmunds recalled.
"And instead of giving them individual pieces, we
offered to loan them the artwork with the idea that we
would have an event, bring some people in, and have
this rotating cycle of work."
Wobble has since had an excellent response from
the art community, from Knightsbridge clientele, and
from bar staff, "who've been they've been so friendly
and good to us," Edmunds said.
One of Wobble's main aims has been to provide
publicity for local artists and designers by curating the
works on loan to Knightsbridge and other Canberra
It also acts as a point of sale for the artists' work
through the Wobble catalogue -- which has recently
evolved into a magazine, providing further exposure
for its stable of talent.
"There are a huge number of graduates coming
out of the art schools here," she said, "There's an
enthusiastic market for their work in culturally rich
establishments like Mocan & Green Grout in NewActon
and A Bite To Eat in Chifley.
"It's a really nice relationship being able to give
these artists some exposure and also to create a scene
within Canberra and make the arts more accessible."
One of the more exciting and unusual venues that
Wobble has helped furnish was the 1601 exhibition
in December last year, overseen by forward-thinking
developers Molonglo Group.
The exhibition turned a top-floor, top-shelf
apartment of NewActon's most recent development
into a gallery space for a week, and included work by
Wobble-backed artists Paul Summerfield, Doug Hall
and Ally Chaplin.
"Finding these more abstract ways of presenting
artwork," Edmunds said, "is fundamental to what
At the February magazine launch, Edmunds
commissioned the talents of Japanese digital artist
Aiko Mineishi to colourfully drench Knightsbridge in
video installations, highlighting the strengths of the
bar-as-art venue approach.
"Using the spaces and the opportunities in a bar, as
opposed to in a gallery, you've got a captive audience
-- people sit there for longer, so the interactive nature
of video work is so much more exciting for the space,"
An architect by training and a furniture maker by
trade, Edmunds is undertaking a Masters in Industrial
Design and Architecture at the University of Canberra,
while also tutoring undergraduates.
She admits this forms part of her bias in deciding
to push Wobble towards being more design-oriented,
and away from static visual art -- but the core goals
will remain the same.
"We'll continue to replenish the collection that
exists within Knightsbridge," Edmunds said. "At the
same time, we'll be looking out for unusual exhibition
spaces -- and, of course, exciting new artists to fill
There are, it seems, bright things on the horizon for
Wobble and Canberra's art community.
Knightsbridge Penthouse is already one of the most attractive places to find a drink in the city area -- but it also
moonlights as an art gallery. BY DOUGLAS FRY.
Art & Cocktails
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